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Elizabeth Bowers 01-02-2013 09:30 PM

Sugarbush Draft? Anyone heard of them?
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Ok so i saw this Draft on my fb, and i thought he was awesome looking! I've been looking into getting a draft team to use around our farm, and maybe to do some pulling. I really like this breed, simply because they're so different. So i wanted to know if anyone here has heard of them/owned any of them/worked with any of them. And what your opinions are of them. Here is a short bio... :-)

The Sugarbush Draft is making a big comeback.

"In the late 1950s, a creative carriage company owner decided to try something different. He began to breed draft horses with loud Appaloosa color. His project worked much better then he had expected. Not only did the color of these horses draw the eye, and set his company, The Sugarbush Hitch Co., above the rest, but the horses produced had a consistent type and personality traits. People soon began referring to the "Sugarbush Drafts" and the name stuck.

Now, nearly 60 years later, the ancestors of those first horses are still capturing the hearts and imagination of horse owners across the United States. and across the globe. The Sugarbush Draft Horse is a smaller breed of draft, averaging between 15.2 and 16.2 hands and weighing an average of 1700 pounds. The ideal Sugarbush Draft Horse has a sloping shoulder, moderate back length, long neck and muscular hind quarters. This combination of traits allows the breed to excel in riding or driving, and makes a wonderfully versatile horse.

The personality of the Sugarbush Draft is that of a very social horse. They do best as part of the family. These horses gladly ignore mistakes from their owners while still putting their all into any task asked of them. They make wonderful companions for first time horse owners, and never cease to amaze seasoned professionals. Many owners swear that the Sugarbush Draft is truly the perfect breed of horse."
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Poco1220 01-02-2013 10:27 PM

There was a thread about them not too long ago. Search the breed name and it should come up.
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prettydecoy 01-02-2013 11:14 PM

The Sugarbush registry has become a joke. Their best breeder is no longer breeding for public sale. Many of the mares they are accepting into the registry as Foundation stock aren't what I would consider "quality," nor are many of the foals being produced out of the stallion O. If you look at O's sire, the famous Harley Quinn, he doesn't exactly have outstanding conformation, or even good riding conformation, so it isn't surprising (here). He is a pulling horse, and that is not what the Sugarbush are being advertised as today. They recently started accepting purebred Appaloosas, too, if they have any draft blood a million generations back, even if they are built like a typical light horse. Oh, and they are accepting purebred Belgian and Percheron geldings, with no LP characteristics, into the registry as Foundation stock too! That is like the German Shepherd becoming endangered and allowing a neutered purebred Dalmatian to become a Foundation German Shepherd. It is false advertising. They're even accepting grays! I am so frustrated with the registry, because this breed has a lot of potential that is not being realized, and they are becoming a joke..... I could keep ranting... I used to support this registry and have owned Sugarbush, but I am not at all happy with the direction their registry is going in. Mr. Smith, the Founder, bred some nice horses but he also produced some train wrecks that are being touted as the breed standard. So incredibly frustrating for those of us who take this breed seriously and wish to produce quality draft horses with LP characteristics. I've also heard of a few breeders having trouble getting their papers. Sigh. My one horse in particular had the best mind of any horse I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He was beautifully conformed, and had a very loud coat pattern. So I suppose each Sugarbush should be evaluated on an individual basis.

Elizabeth Bowers 01-03-2013 12:35 PM

Prettydecoy, that's sad, i'd really like to own a flashy team like that. :-( Maybe they need new management. It's a shame the registry is a mess. Thanks for the info.

prettydecoy 01-03-2013 01:18 PM


Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bowers (Post 1826890)
Prettydecoy, that's sad, i'd really like to own a flashy team like that. :-( Maybe they need new management. It's a shame the registry is a mess. Thanks for the info.

Yeah, I think it is sad too. To my knowledge, it is just a bunch of women who got together and started the registry. It is run more like a dictatorship than a breed club. I don't think they vote or anything to change the Officers... Sigh.

bkhart77 01-17-2013 02:14 PM

I need to clarify a few things here. First, as secretary to the Sugarbush Draft Registry, let me set it straight -- we do not (nor have we ever) accept purebred Appaloosa horses for registration. Also, "O" is standing to the public -- I don't know who ever gave the impression that he wasn't. I'm not sure how we're run like a dictatorship -- we do vote, and as we've only been working for a year to build the registry, I think it's a little early to worry about changing officers at this point.

Prettydecoy -- not sure where you found the list of horses that are registered, but I'd be more than happy to answer any/all questions regarding how we're looking at horses (from a conformational standpoint), what the criteria are, and if you'd like, I"d be more than happy to share the test scores that our horses got at their inspection with FEIT......honestly, I have to put more weight on what a judge considers "well built" than someone who's only seen pictures on a FB page.

Anyone can feel free to contact me at, or stop by our FB page.

Kris Hartman
Sugarbush Draft Horse Registry

MainelyDraft 01-18-2013 11:08 AM

I find it funny that people object to the registry adding new blood, especially since there is only ONE stallion left from the original lines and only a few of the original mares left. They're trying to REBUILD the breed, and to do that, they need to add new blood to stop the risk of inbreeding. DRAFT horses are being added, but not crosses or purebred appaloosas. There is the Stonewall Sport Horse registry for appaloosas and appaloosa crosses. Percherons and Norikers made up the breed orginally, with some appaloosa blood... Norikers are a dotted (I'd say spotted, but that makes me think about paints) draft breed. So yes, a Sugarbush can be 100% draft. You may want to do more research yourself. I personally follow and speak with many members of the registry and they are all working very hard to bring this breed back.

themacpack 01-18-2013 11:23 AM

I seem to recall a rather lenghty thread (or two) about them previously - I'll see if I can find them and link them for you as you can likely find some more discussion/info through those past discussions

themacpack 01-18-2013 11:23 AM

SlideStop 01-20-2013 08:31 AM

You don't need a sugarbush to have a spotted draft horse. PMU farms frequently breed draft x appy crosses. We have one at my barn, though she is varnish not spotted like this, its just a matter of looking.
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